Hoda Kotb wasn't in costume, or fancy attire and finery this morning, August 20, when she made her “Today” appearance. She did have her most beautiful fashion accessory - her gorgeous smile - when she dropped into the morning show, via video, with news that was a gift to millions of faithful viewers. Only Hoda Kotb could manage to make the date of her return, from maternity leave, such a marvelous occasion.

After so many weeks of not seeing Hoda or Jenna Bush Hager, much less “Hoda & Jenna” together, in their fourth hour, social media was buzzing when the “Today” crew mentioned that Kotb would have some news concerning her comeback to morning TV today. As delighted as the adoptive mother has been since the arrival of Hope Catherine, some “Today” fans had to wonder if the doting mother could tear herself away from her beautiful daughters at all.

The rampant concerns and curiosities were put to rest this morning, and Hoda Kotb could not have looked or sounded any more joyful. Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Al Roker was celebrating the actual day of his 65th birthday exactly the way he dreamed. The jovial weatherman and admired “Today” broadcaster got the present he most desired-- to be surrounded by his family, who were all with him in Croatia.

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The location really didn't seem to matter. What mattered was the radiant love from the family, and Al’s wife, Deborah Roberts, captured her feelings for her husband in beautiful birthday words, which were read on the third hour of “Today” by Sheinelle Jones. The miles dissolved for everyone in the studio, as the tender message flowed.

Look forward to Labor Day

“Today’s” most loyal viewers have a special reason to look forward to Labor Day in just weeks because, on September 3, Hoda Kotb will be back at the anchor desk of the broadcast.

“Hi, guys! Guess what? Time to get my roots done,” the co-anchor confirmed from the outdoor deck of her digs, looking lovely as ever without a smidge of makeup. She also was wearing the jean shorts look that she has made into a sensation across social media in recent weeks.

Kotb confessed that seeing her girls bond as siblings created “the best summer of my life,” and she further elaborated that “I've loved every second of it.” Nonetheless, Hoda Kotb clearly loves the career that she has cultivated as a news journalist for more than 35 years.

She explained that she hoped to teach her daughter, Haley Joy, that “work is something you love, not something you are dragged off to.” She assured Savannah Guthrie that her alarm clock was already set for 3:15 AM. Guthrie retorted that her mental health has taken a decline since not being able to share the time with Kotb every day in the makeup chairs.

Hoda did relate that Haley has been singing a song with “Mommy no work” as a lyric while she dances, but some time with her grandmother will ease that transition to come.

Hoda Kotb was kind enough to call in on the fourth hour of “Today,” also. Sheinelle Jones reminded the anchor that no one can bring the spirit to “Hoda & Jenna” like its namesakes. The older mom relayed a story of her recent visit to see Jenna Bush Hager and her baby son, Hal. She was struck by the peace in Hager's demeanor, and Jenna described that “it's easier with three,” because she let go of expectations from others and focused on what worked for her family. Kotb loved that Jenna was holding the baby on one side and munching Teddy Grahams out of the other hand. “You’re just you,” reminded Kotb, insisting that the quality of authenticity is Hager’s best asset.

A totally loving tribute

It might be easy to think that Al Roker and Deborah Roberts have expressed everything to each other in their more than 20 years together as a team in family, in love, and in knowing the news business. Last Friday, August 16, Roker was bombarded with bacon and a bevy of brightly-colored glasses for an early 65th birthday celebration from his “Today” family. Today was the actual day of Al Roker’s birth, and Deborah Roberts assured her husband in a moving tribute just how much he is loved and appreciated.

Sharing a photo of a tender kiss on social media, Roberts accompanied the image with true words of devotion. She set on honoring the man who “confidently strode into my life” over 20 years ago, “bearing gifts of joy, laughter, kindness, compassion, romance, and unpredictability.”

Anyone who knows Roker’s involvement as a father and in working with various charities understands the softer side underneath his playful teasing. Roberts related that those in her husband's orbit “know how blessed they are,” while “your children cherish you.” After calling her husband “a man for all seasons,” Deborah declared her love as “beyond measure.”

A photo relayed by Al Roker depicted the entire family being together for the birthday break. By birth and in broadcasting, the “Today” family shares real and lasting bonds.

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